The one secret to turning your customers into raving fans and stop million dollar mistakes.
The world has been preaching the importance of customer service more than the Bible itself and yet I see company after company running into the same critical mistakes. You read complaints in the newspaper, you see them on the news and in the connected society we have become, customer service needs to stop being an afterthought.
Take Stephen Amell's flight with Air Canada for example. One bad trip, no outlet to complain and now 35,000 people know about it. Take a second to think about that. 35,000 people - and they were just the ones who liked the status!
Potentially up to a third of a million people caught a glimpse of their admirer saying on Facebook the immortal words:
"I don't know what - if anything - this post will accomplish. But please - if you have the option when traveling, don't use Air Canada. They don't deserve your business."
And it didn't stop there. A range of memes flooded Reddit, causing a cascading effect of more negativity.
I think you get the point. Bad customer service and not having an outlet for customers to complain is a big no-no.
And I want to take it one step further.
Customer service shouldn't just be something a business should have, it should be the center of your business. Your customers are your business!
No customers - no business.
So How Can You Be More Customer-Centric?
Open up the floodgates of communication!
A lot of business owners are scared. They've been running their business somewhat successfully for X years and have not once had an encounter with a customer. Well except the one or two furious customers who are so angry, the office thinks they're crazy.
And I'm not just saying this, I fell into the same category! After two years of growing a business, I quickly realized I had not once gone out and talked to my customer about critical matters like 'what did you like about the service?' 'How could I have improved?' And after getting in touch with the team at AskNicely it dawned on me how stupid I was being.
And I was scared.
After two years of no deep interaction, I almost didn't want to know what they were thinking! But to be a world-class company, this fear must end.
There are only a few billion dollar businesses around today that aren't prioritizing their customers more than anything else and because of this, those few aren't going to be around for long.
The battle between Apple and Microsoft didn't last long. Apple is the king of customer support with so-called 'Apple geniuses' spread throughout nearly every country and a support system that works.
They might be more expensive than every other company in their industry, but they're valued the highest. Why? They put the customers first.
A customer doesn't care if they have to pay more; they only care about you paying attention to them.
And Wufoo is the queen of customer-centric business. They managed to grow faster than every other Y-Combinator, Silicon Valley startup with the least amount of capital invested because of one simple reason - their sole focus was making their customers happy.
And they didn't just talk the talk, they sent Christmas cards to their clients, they chatted on the phone daily, and their support line sat in the middle of the software engineers office. Instead of outsourcing their customer service, they had their most expensive employees pick up the phone because they knew this would be the quickest way to get the problem solved!
They even changed the login button to a dinosaur because apparently their users loved it!
Okay, Okay, So How Can I Value My Customer More?
There is a multitude of ways you can improve customer service, here are a few:
Having a live chat feature on the website will make a massive difference to your customers. Without live chat, a customer finding no other place to complain, will leave their complaint on your Facebook page in front of the world (I've done this very thing with Vodafone). With live chat, you can resolve their issue in real-time helping them move from being an angry customer to an excited one. Our favorites? LiveChatInc and Olark.
Customer Support Platforms
Having an area where customers can ask questions or self-engage and find the information they need themselves is critical. Not only will it cut the amount of time you spend dealing with the same problem multiple times, it'll also help solve the customer's problem before it becomes a problem! Our favorites? ZenDesk and GrooveHQ.
You've made it to the promised land.
Live chat was the revolution of 2010; customer support platforms rose in popularity in 2013, and we're due for a new customer service revolution.
Strangely enough surveys have been around for hundreds of years but never has there been a way to conduct surveys so efficiently.
2015 is the year of the Net Promoter Score (NPS). Slack, Zendesk, Salesforce and thousands of other companies are pinning NPS as one of their main reasons for such rapid growth, and it comes at no surprise.
NPS allows businesses to keep a constant pulse on their customers by asking them one important message, 'how likely are you to recommend YOUR BRAND to your friends?' and gives the receiver the option to rate their likelihood from 1 to 10.
And with software like AskNicely, you get a dashboard for constant monitoring, the ability to automate the process, the ability to communicate with your customers and solve issues in real time or promote wins.
On top of all of this they send the survey straight to your customers inbox and allow them to answer and provide feedback in their email client! This dramatically improves the response rate and the engagement you receive from your customers.
Just think, if Stephen Amell was sent an NPS email after his first phone call to Air Canada, he would have been given ample space to vent, and have his issues resolved. By making NPS a part of their customer-centric business model, Air Canada could have saved hundreds of thousands of dollars in brand repairs.
And on a more down-to-earth note, remember customers are your business. It shouldn't be a hassle to engage with your customers, it should be a privilege.
I believe the saying 'happy wife means happy life' should also apply to business; 'happy shopper means more dollar'...
Okay, that was pretty bad but at the end of the day remember the success and growth of your business is directly correlated to the satisfaction of your customers so stop making this a secondary priority!
Start by signing up to AskNicely today. You can begin with a 14-day free trial, be set up and automatically sending emails within 10 minutes and be well on your way to becoming a customer-centric business!